Marijuana Impairs Teens’ Working Memory

Posted on October 5th, 2014

Significant numbers of American teenagers use/abuse the plant-based drug cannabis (especially marijuana); in addition, a smaller number of teens use/abuse an opioid drug or medication. In a study published in August 2014 in the journal Substance Abuse, researchers from four U.S. institutions explored the impact that cannabis use and opioid use have on teenagers’ ability to use a form of memory called working memory. All humans rely on this form of memory to record short-term information, focus attention and complete a range of essential tasks.

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Using Text Messaging to Alter Drinking Behavior in Young Adults

Posted on September 28th, 2014

A new study from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine found that using text messaging to acquire data that calculates and keeps track of one’s drinking can not only offer immediate feedback and information to people discharged from the hospital, but it can also cut down on drink-related issues and accidents.

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Rave Parties and the Abuse of Club Drugs

Posted on September 27th, 2014

Once found primarily in large metropolitan areas, rave parties are making their way into more rural settings. Increasingly, parents need to understand what is meant by the term and what happens at the parties once kids get there.

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woman with cocaine addiction

Does Depression Form a Link Between Stress and Drinking Problems?

Posted on September 26th, 2014

People who abuse any one of a number of substances, including alcohol, have an unusual likelihood of developing symptoms of depression. People who regularly exceed recommendations for moderate alcohol intake also have an increased likelihood of developing significant problems with mental stress. In a study published in August 2014 in the Journal of Substance Use, researchers from Washington State University explored the connection between depression, stress and alcohol problems. These researchers concluded that depression symptoms play an important role in determining the amount of alcohol that a person under stress consumes over time.

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6 Reasons Synthetic Marijuana Is More Toxic Than Pot

Posted on September 25th, 2014

Synthetic marijuana is one of the best-known “designer drugs” on the market, and despite legal efforts to curb its use, it’s still a big public health problem. The dirty secret about synthetic marijuana (otherwise known as Spice, K2, Yucatan Fire, JWH-018 and other names) is that it’s nothing like marijuana. With symptoms ranging from agitation and vomiting to hallucinations, seizures, strokes, heart problems and even death, there’s a reason the drug’s creator, John W. Huffman, PhD, said using the drug was like playing Russian roulette. Recent deaths associated with the drug drive his point home quite clearly: just because it’s “legal” (although some varieties aren’t) doesn’t mean it’s safe. In an article for Forbes, Alice G. Walton lists six reasons synthetic pot is more toxic to the brain than the real thing.

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Age at First Drink Predicts Risk for Heavy Drinking

Posted on September 24th, 2014

In the U.S., some alcohol consumers don’t take their first drink until they reach the end of their teenage years or the beginning of their 20s. However, many consumers take their first drink of alcohol at a much younger age. Addiction specialists and public health officials know that the early use of alcohol can have a range of harmful short- and long-term effects. In a study published in July 2014 in the International Journal of Drug Policy, researchers from Australia’s National Drug Research Institute specifically looked at the impact that early alcohol use has on the odds that a young adult will become a heavy drinker.

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Variations of Single Gene May Increase Odds for Alcoholism

Posted on September 22nd, 2014

Alcoholism (i.e., physical alcohol dependence) is known to have a strong genetic component, and researchers continue to uncover specific genes and gene combinations that contribute to risks for the condition. In a study published in July 2014 in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, a group of South Korean researchers used a combination of genetic testing and a screening tool called the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) to determine if multiple forms of a single gene, called HTR7, can increase the odds that any given person will become physically dependent on alcohol.

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Which is Safer – Alcohol or Marijuana?

Posted on September 21st, 2014

Is marijuana really any more dangerous than alcohol? Many debate this question while states consider legalizing marijuana for medical or recreational use.

Alcohol is the most commonly used and abused addictive substance. It’s easy to obtain and legal for people over 21. Some states lowered the drinking age to 18 for a period of time in the 1960s and 1970s, but raised it again by the mid-1980s to help combat drunk driving fatalities. The use of alcohol continues to be socially acceptable in spite of all of the negative consequences that can occur when the substance is abused.

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What’s Wrong With Calling Someone an Addict?

Posted on September 20th, 2014

In recent years, the terms “addict” and “alcoholic” have been gradually falling out of favor as ways to refer to people with substance use disorders. Many people have begun to publicly advocate against these terms, including the current acting director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, Michael Botticelli.

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Food Addiction Linked with Impulsivity

Posted on September 20th, 2014

Impulsivity is a character trait associated with various risky behaviors. Those with high levels of impulsivity may be more likely to experiment with drugs or alcohol, or to engage in risky sexual behaviors. Impulsivity can also be cast in a favorable light, with individuals that are more impulsive valued for their spontaneity.

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The Hidden Problem of Older Adult Substance Abuse

Posted on September 19th, 2014

As we age we are faced with changes in nearly every facet of life, and many of those changes are not welcome. The increasing years bring increasing physical limitations and identity changes. Retirement can mean the loss of daily purpose and a lessened sense of identity that most of us gain from our role in the workplace. Children grow up and move away. Friends die and precious spouses are lost. Loneliness, anxiety and depression are common problems for the aged, and an alarming number of seniors turn to alcohol or prescription drugs in order to cope. Substance abuse among those over age 60 is one of our country’s fastest growing public health concerns.

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